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The Lancet Commission

The Lancet is one of the oldest and best-known peer-reviewed medical journals. Occasionally they commission a group a scientists to prepare a detailed scientific analysis on a particular topic. In this case, they joined with John Hopkins and commissioned 22 experts to analyze Public Health and International Drug Policy, in advance of the United Nations special session (UNGASS) on drug policy next month.

The report is not an easy read at times – so much data and information — but it’s very thorough and it is a stinging scientific indictment of international drug policy. Check out part of the conclusion:

Policies meant to prohibit or greatly suppress drugs present an apparent paradox. They are portrayed by policy makers to be necessary to preserve public health and safety, and yet they directly and indirectly contribute to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice, and the undermining of people’s right to health. The framers of international human rights law foresaw that there would be times, especially in the face of security threats, when some individual rights would have to be abrogated in favour of preserving collective safety and wellbeing. There is international consensus that if policies that abrogate rights are necessary for the greater good, those policies should pursue a legitimate and transparently defined goal and be proportionate to that goal, must be the least rights-restrictive and the least harmful possible to achieve the stated goal, should include adequate remedies for people whose rights are violated, and should not interfere with the democratic functioning of society.

In our view, policies pursuing drug prohibition or severe suppression do not meet these criteria, even if one accepts that drugs in and of themselves somehow present a serious security threat. Policies that pursue drug prohibition or heavy suppression do not represent the least harmful way to address drugs, the aim they pursue is not well defined or realistic, their interventions are not proportionate to the problem, they destabilize democratic societies, and people harmed by them often have no recourse to remedies to mitigate those harms. The scourge of drugs and the harms of drug use are exaggerated to justify these measures.

You can Public Health and International Drug Policyread the report yourself. Also, Jacob Sullum has more on the report.

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80 comments to The Lancet Commission

  • DonDig

    .
    So much good work is being done and published these days that we will (apparently) have to hit the tipping, no, avalanche, point eventually. I certainly hope so anyway.

    The rub is that there’s ‘too much money in it.’

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      There’s more money in it being legal. Someday maybe poor people will figure out that rich people aren’t married to their methods. Don’t kid yourself thinking that they’ll lose any income or sleep when things change. The fact that they stall isn’t proof otherwise. They stall because they need the time to move into the new reality. People don’t get rich by modeling reality to what they want it to be.

  • Servetus

    Very thorough presentation, indeed. The Lancet Commission on Drug Policy and Health succeeded in zinging the NIDA while not mentioning the malodorous National Institute of Drug Abuse directly by name:

    Research about drugs and drug policy has suffered from a lack of a diversified funding base and assumptions about drug use and drug pathologies on the part of the dominant funder, the US Government. At a time when drug-policy discussions are opening up around the world, there is an urgent need to bring the best of non-ideologically-driven health science, social science, and policy analysis to the study of drugs and the potential for policy reform.

    Nora Volkow, along with her agency’s funding of hack prohibitionist research, face certain obsolescence. Amidst the policy changes recommended at UNGASS, an upgrade in the NIDA’s charter is essential. Using a different approach, the NIDA could be eliminated in favor of creating a totally new agency calling itself something else, for instance, the ‘National Institute of Drug Research’, or NIDR.

    The question for Dr. Volkow will be can she rise above the old drug dogmas to transform her agency, the one that’s been little more than a deceitful propaganda mill, into an entity funding scientifically legitimate drug research? Or, can a silk purse be manufactured from a sow’s ear? Volkow’s future employment by the government depends on her making courageous and progressive choices starting in April.

    • Servetus

      Update: General George C. Marshal’s (Marshall Plan, c. 1947) recommendation was that when changing public policies, not only the policies but the bureaucrats promoting said policies must go. JFK failed in that capacity when he kept Allen Dulles on as CIA director. It got Kennedy killed.

      The General is right. Sorry Nora, but it’s bye-bye time. Along with 12,000 DEA employees, and a billion dollars in annual funding for the NIDA. Here today, gone tomorrow.

      Imagine being kicked out of government, having to start over in a new career, with a stinker related to drug enforcement on one’s resume. As part of a devil’s bargain, we may need to ease the exit of these human rights criminals to achieve a shutdown of the agencies.

  • Evidence-based Shaman

    In 1894, in the very FIRST issue of the Lancet, Sir J Russell Reynolds wrote glowingly about cannabis. He prescribed Queen Victoria cannabis (probably in the tincture form) for dysmenorrhea.

    From David Bearman, MD, (Executive VP American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine from his course for The Medical Cannabis Institute.)

  • DdC

    The Lancet, vol 352, number 9140, November 14 1998:
    “We.. say that on the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health, and that decisions to ban or legalise cannabis should be based on other considerations.”

  • thelbert

    here’s a post about the prohibitchs’ latest stab in the back for all that is decent: http://tinyurl.com/zca8hby

    • Anyone have a link to the actual statement? Didn’t see one in the article.

        • thelbert

          i should have read it before i posted this bogus link. i got it from this place: http://www.itfsdp.org/ under current news

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Wow, that last link sure looks like it came from an alternate reality. From my point of view the product of the bureaucratic equivalent of inbreeding. I honestly wonder if those people are confused when they get home in the evening, wondering why the heck they’re being marginalized into that dark night of utter irrelevance.

          Hey U.N. if that’s what you believe it’s time to send n the troops and enforce your stupid treaties. C’mon guys, what are you waiting for? If that’s what you international idiots believe it’s time to throw down.

          OK I confess, I just want them to provide some entertainment value for however much of my Federal tax goes to support those fucking cretins. Do they even pay rent on that piece of ground their building occupies in New York? Did they pay for that building or is it just another gift from Uncle Sam?

          I apologize, I get grumpy like this every year around this time. I might have to go back to filling out our 1040 in October. Not that it makes me complain less but in April my complaints are lost in the chorus of everyone else.

    • The Lancet nailed it when they said “They are portrayed by policy makers to be necessary to preserve public health and safety, and yet they directly and indirectly contribute to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice, and the undermining of people’s right to health.”

      The International Task Force on Strategic Drug Policy statement is a perfect example of Lancet’s point.

  • OT, but hot damn!

    Judge lifts decade-old injunction against hemp farmer

    White Plume’s lawyer, former U.S. attorney from North Dakota Timothy Purdon, said the order is a victory for both White Plume and tribal sovereignty.

    “This order brings some justice to Native America’s first modern day hemp farmer,” Purdon said. “For over 10 years, Alex White Plume has been subject to a one-of-a-kind injunction which prevented him from farming hemp.”

  • FindSomewhereElseToPostNonsense

    Please go away and take your spam with you!

  • DdC

    (2016) Weedmaps
    Find medical and recreational cannabis
    dispensaries, deliveries and marijuana doctors

    “Insanity: doing the same thing
    over and over again
    and expecting different results.”
    – Albert Einstein

    (2006) Mary Jane Trumps Joe Camel By Mary Beckman
    CN Source: ScienceNOW Daily News May 23,
    Marijuana Does Not Raise Lung Cancer Risk
    No Link Between Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer

    (2005) Marijuana May Spur New Brain Cells By Steve Mitchell

    (2002) 30 Years After
    Nixon’s Marijuana Commission Advocated Decriminalization
    Report Findings Are Still Valid
    Nixon Never Read His Own Report, President Bush Should

    (2001) What the WHO doesn’t want you to know about cannabis
    … cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

    (1999) Institute Of Medicine Report On Medical Marijuana
    “remove federal legal restrictions so that states can regulate marijuana like other accepted prescription medicines,”

    (1998) The Lancet, vol 352, number 9140, November 14
    … moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health

    (1998) Clinton Signs Law Denying Student Aid To Marijuana Smokers

    (1997) Testimony of Professor Lester Grinspoon, M.D.
    Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, before the Crime Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., October 1,:
    “Cannabis is remarkably safe.

    (1997) The Kaiser Permanente study
    “Marijuana Use and Mortality” April American Journal of Public Health”.
    “Relatively few adverse clinical effects from the chronic use of marijuana have been documented in humans. However, the criminalization of marijuana use may itself be a health hazard, since it may expose the users to violence and criminal activity.”

    (1997) Proven : Cannabis is a safe medicine by Ian Williams Goddard
    BOSTON, Jan. 30, (UPI)
    CANNABIS DOES NOT CAUSE CANCER

    (1997) Clinton Plan Attacks Medical Marijuana Initiatives, Targets Doctors
    January 2, – Washington, DC, USA

    (1996) Professor Olaf Drummer,
    forensic scientist the Royal College of Surgeons in Melbourne
    Compared to alcohol… Cannabis is good for driving skills, as people tend to overcompensate for a perceived impairment.”

    (1995) “Marijuana: Facts for Teens.”
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    Washington, D.C., p.10.
    “Most marijuana users do not go on to use other drugs.”

    (1993) U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    (DOT HS 808 078), Final Report, November
    “THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small”

    (1992) The Economist March 28th
    “Medicines often produce side effects. Sometimes they are physically unpleasant. Cannabis too has discomforting side effects, but these are not physical they are political”

    (1988) “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of
    the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
    — DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young Docket No. 86-22

    (1987) The USA Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy
    The chief opposition to the drug rests on a moral and political, and not toxicologic, foundation”.

    (1983) “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. … The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”
    — William F. Buckley,
    Commentary in The National Review, April 29,, p. 495

    (1981) The Coptic Study
    “No Harm to Human Brain or Intelligence”

    (1977) U.S. Representative Dan Quayle, March
    “Congress should definitely consider decriminalizing possession of marijuana…

    (1976) President Jimmy Carter
    “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself”

    (1974) US Jamaican Study
    … Those who have consumed marijuana for a period of years showed no mental or physical deterioration which may be attributed to the drug.”

    (1974) Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew in ’74

    (1970) The Shafer Commission of
    Marijuana does not lead to physical dependency, although some evidence indicates that the heavy, long-term users may develop a psychological dependence on the drug”

    (1970) Jamaican Study
    “This study indicates that there is little correlation between the use of ganja and crime, except insofar as the possession and cultivation of ganja are technically crimes”

    (1968) UK ROYAL COMMISSION, THE WOOTTON REPORT
    …the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects” “the long-asserted dangers of cannabis are exaggerated and that the related law is socially damaging, if not unworkable

    (1965) Dr J. H. Jaffe,
    The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics.
    L.Goodman and A Gillman, 3rd edn.
    …marijuana does not directly cause criminal behaviour, juvenile delinquency, sexual excitement, or addiction.

    (1944) LaGuardia Commission Report,
    “Cannabis smoking] does not lead directly to mental or physical deterioration… Those who have consumed marijuana for a period of years showed no mental or physical deterioration which may be attributed to the drug.”

    (1925) Panama Canal Zone Report,
    “There is no evidence… that any deleterious influence on the individual using [cannabis]”

    (1894) Indian Hemp Drugs Commission,
    …moderate use of hemp… appears to cause no appreciable physical injury of any kind,… no injurious effects on the mind… [and] no moral injury whatever.”

  • Jean Valjean

    “(1998) Clinton Signs Law Denying Student Aid To Marijuana Smokers.”

    “Not inhaling” is no excuse. The moment the hypocrite in chief took that joint and put it to his mouth he was in breach of a controlled substance law. The Clinton’s are totally shameless.

    • Frank W.

      The Clinton Family was and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Corporation. Hilary’s trademarked boilerplate opinion on prohibition makes her sound like an old bat but it’s the same line she would’ve taken when she wore bell bottoms at college. Let’s not even get into how much Bill knowingly empowered the DEA in the 90s.

  • Angry Foreigner

    Just FYI. The Islamic terrorist scum who planned those disgusting Paris/Brussels terrorist attacks all smoked weed. They loved weed. The same way some of your Xtian abortion clinic bombers may have loved coffee or alcohol. So what do the Euro-peon idiots make of that? They blame weed instead of Islam! Because in Regressive left-wing fantasy land, Islam is a race, not a religion. Better not be racist! Say no to racism and drugs!

    Allahu Akbar!

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I heard that they never used toilet paper!

    • DdC

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?
      Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld,
      Ronald Reagan meeting with Taliban\al-Qaeda\Mujahideen
      As with Saddam Hussein, Noriega enjoyed American support until he turned into a wayward ally who had to be overthrown

      Bush’s Faustian Deal With the Taliban
      Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.

      Admissions on Nixon’s ‘Treason’

      Isis burn down marijuana farm in Syria – video

      ISIS Says It’s Burning Marijuana Fields In Syria

      The Islamic State militant group released a video on Tuesday purporting to show its fighters burning down a marijuana field in a town it captured in north Syria.

      But the farmers have come under threat from radical Islamist fighters, such as the militants of the Islamic State, who consider drugs against Islamic law.

      The Islamic State group, earlier known as ISIS, is known to impose a harsh interpretation of Islamic law in areas under its control in Iraq and Syria, and has banned cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. A United Nations commission said on Wednesday that the group’s systematic abuse of civilians, including public executions and training child fighters, may amount to crimes against humanity.

    • strayan

      I heard that they don’t like opening their windows!

    • DdC

      There was a story going around at the time about Condi Rice’ visit to Afghanistan. She was repeatedly told when greeting someone to shake with her left hand as custom dictates. But typical arrogant GOPers were sticking to their guns and wouldn’t change American customs of a right handed hand shake. So she did. They all looked at her strangely and she didn’t say much at the time. Later she ask why the custom was different than the US. They told her that there are not enough trees to cut down for toilet paper so they use their hand to wipe, and then clean it on the grass or dirt. The hand they use is their right hand,

    • DdC

      Just FYI. The Islamic terrorist scum who planned those disgusting Paris/Brussels terrorist attacks

      Saudi Arabia funds and exports Islamic extremism:
      The truth behind the toxic U.S. relationship with the theocratic monarchy

      Bushit Cheneynagans D.E.A.th & Oil!
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1278

      Hemplastic or Fossil Fools Crud
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1659

  • Jean Valjean

    Sarah Silverman: “Sanders being president just means the bottom 99% can live a little bit better. Got it?”

    http://www.alternet.org/sarah-silverman-trumps-rich-americans-you-can-still-be-ashole-if-sanders-president

  • It's Having Immediate Effect

    “The government is considering taking a more tolerant approach to minor drug offences, says Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

    The potential change comes as a joint study by Johns Hopkins University in the US and the British medical journal The Lancet says the punitive approach to drug offending has done more harm than good.

    Five former presidents have also said the global War on Drugs needs to be completely overhauled, according to the Economist magazine.

    Mr Dunne told Morning Report today he was not sure New Zealand’s drug law was still fit-for-purpose and he wanted drugs to be viewed as more of a health issue.

    “Under the general focus of trying to get the appropriate legal balance, the issues of the utilisation of drug paraphernalia are being looked at, issues relating to the penalty regime is being looked at. And I’m also asking the expert advisory committee on drugs when it classifies drugs, to take a focus that is more health-related than previously.”

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/300185/govt-may-soften-approach-to-drugs

    • Jean Valjean

      Sounds like Dunne is just another desperate prohibitionist rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

    • B. Snow

      “More of a health issue” = likely means they stick you in a shitty dorm-like room instead of a jail cell… After they haul you off from your life because they just care – SO MUCH about other people’s health!
      And that day you made the top of their list of people in need of overzealous unwanted concern.
      BTW, you should be shining their shoes or something that signals deference.

  • DdC

    Former New Mexico Gov. and 2016 Libertarian White House hopeful Gary Johnson says he thinks President Obama is going to remove marijuana from the government’s “Schedule I” list of narcotics considered particularly harmful and addictive on his way out of office.

    Gary Johnson Predicts Obama will Reclassify MJ
    By David Sherfinski, March 29, 2016 The Washington Times

    “It’s going to be just like alcohol,” Mr. Johnson told The Washington Times Tuesday. “I’m going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he’s going to do that going out the door. That’s a positive.”

    Support for MJ Legalization Hita an All-Time High
    University of Chicago finds that a record-high percentage of Americans — 61 percent — say they support marijuana legalization.

    • Jean Valjean

      The REAL definition of Schedule 1:

      Any drugs deemed to be taken by the enemies of a paranoid Richard Nixon (weed and acid for anti-war hippies, heroin for blacks).

      In case any readers here missed it:

      http://www.vox.com/2016/3/22/11278760/war-on-drugs-racism-nixon

      • DdC

        This is sorta like people getting exited about Columbus discovering the Indians. Nixon’s private war on the counterculture and people of color. Using public funds to wage it. Was known 4 decades ago. The kicker was in knowing some of those getting busted. Plus the full of shit factor in everything they claimed. Or other unConstitutional entities to saved the bloated budgets. Hiding behind kids. Sacrificial lambs, giving their lives for the lies to continue. Drug Worriers will be seen Historically as diabolical mass murderers committing genocide on several cultures. With an unquestioning horde of followers swallowing it hook, line and sinker. ECSD.

        Book Offers Peek Into Nixon’s Mind

        Concern about Mr. Nixon’s mental state in 1974 led the secretary of defense, James R. Schlesinger, to order all military units not to react to orders from ”the White House” unless they were cleared with him or the secretary of state, writes Anthony Summers in ”The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon.” Mr. Schlesinger confirmed the account…

        The book reports that the prescription drug, Dilantin, was given to Mr. Nixon in 1968 by Jack Dreyfus, the founder of the Dreyfus Fund and an enthusiastic promoter and user of the drug.

        effective in dealing with ”fear, worry, guilt, panic, anger and related emotions, irritability, rage, mood, depression, violent behavior, hyperglycemia, alcohol, anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, cardiac arrhythmia, muscular disorders.
        ~ Jack Dreyfus,
        the founder of the Dreyfus Fund and an enthusiastic promoter and user of the drug

        Mr. Dreyfus said in the interview that he gave Mr. Nixon a bottle of 1,000, 100 milligram capsules, ”when his mood wasn’t too good.” He said Mr. Nixon scoffed when he said they should be prescribed by a doctor, and he later gave the president another 1,000 capsules. In the book, Mr. Dreyfus says Mr. Nixon told him: ”To heck with the doctor.”

        Dilantin was properly used to prevent convulsions, and was discredited for psychiatric use. He said it could be used to prevent anxiety, but other drugs were better. He said Dilantin has ”potentially very serious side effect risks, like change of mental status, person becoming confused, loss of memory, irritability, definitely could have an effect on cognitive function.”
        ~ Dr. Richard A. Friedman,
        director of the psychopharmacology clinic at Cornell medical school

        Book Says Nixon Took Mood-Altering Drug CNSearch
        Richard Nixon’s Vengeful War on Marijuana
        While Nixon Campaigned, FBI Watched John Lennon
        From Nixon to Now
        Outside View: Nixon Tapes Pot Shocker
        Once-Secret Nixon Tapes Show Why US Outlawed Pot
        Nixon Launched The 30 Years’ War as Election Issue
        Book Says Nixon Took Mood-Altering Drug
        Fixin’ Under Nixon!
        Fixin’ Under Nixon Part Two!

        Marijuana has been, in fact, never proven to have directly caused any death, according to Drug Enforcement Administration’s Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young.

        Young’s report said one would have to smoke 1,500 pounds of marijuana (20,000 to 40,000 joints) within about 15 minutes to overdose on the drug.

        Richard Nixon’s Vengeful War on Marijuana September 18, 2010
        President Nixon saw it as a way to hit back against pot-smoking Vietnam protesters, and presidents since have feared being smeared as “soft on drugs.”

        Al Gore on Drugs August 14, 2000
        Gore smoked pot as a young man. Were his college-chum “connections” agents of evil? Does he think his old Harvard toking pals applauded when half-a-million Americans were arrested for pot possession in 1996, and again in 1997 — far more than in any year under Nixon or Reagan?

  • stlgonzo

    ‘Drug Users Need Treatment,’ Says President Obama. Not So Fast, Says Dr. Carl Hart
    The Columbia University neuroscientist wants to shift the focus to harm reduction.

    http://tinyurl.com/zwcvt8b

    • Jean Valjean

      PROBLEMATIC drug users need treatment IF THEY WANT IT.

    • Yep. That’s the favorite political doublespeak trick – treatment whether they need it or not.

      Treatment as punishment.

    • DdC

      Any law on the books should be enforced to stop the actual crime regardless of the condition of the perp. Crashing cars while drunk or sober should be a charge of paying damages if guilty and serving time for doing someone harm, laws already established. Not more punishment if a b or c is preceding the crime. No extra punishment as incentive. No treatment asylums as an alternative to jail cells. It is illogical to punish someone for their own good. To modify someone’s behavior because it doesn’t agree with PC definitions of proper.Is more towards the ego’s of the punisher than helping the person with the problem they don’t even recognize. Again its all about profits. Money going to jails or rehabs. LEO budgets and scapegoating and stigmatizing certain groups. There is no sympathy for the drug user, even if they are addicted. Most if not all of the danger is from do goobers trying to fix it. Prohibition is the harmful drug and highly addictive to prohibitionists. They are the ones needing an intervention.

  • Evidence-based Shaman

    Found this on Page-42 of the Lancet Commission report.

    “…Caulkins thoughtful analysis…” Say what Lancet dudes?

    However, while they call Johnny P’s work “thoughtful” their follow-up on Johnny’s prohibitionist-based views goes like this:

    “We appreciate efforts such as his to bring empirical rigor to this question, but on the basis of the evidence identified and analyzed by the Commission, we conclude that the harms of prohibition far outweigh the benefits.”

    I Americanized some English spellings to keep from getting (sic).

    • Frank W.

      Kind of like in Goodfellas where the harassed restaurant owner suggests having Tommy whacked (to Paulie), then retracts it sheepishly, out of RESPECT.
      Lancet has a lot of respect for thoughtful prohibitionists.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    One of the best days of my life was 7/4/1980 when I attended my first Smoke-In.

    Everyone except me loved the 4 foot plant in a 2 gallon clay pot. I was schlepping all over DC that day. I hated it because by the end of the day it felt like it was in a 10 gallon lead container. Got it there on the subway. Ditto going back to Falls Church. I was introduced to and joined the Libertarian Party. It was just good clean wholesome fun from start to finish.

    Flash forward to the here and now. It really does look like the cannabis law reform advocates have a remarkably effective organization. I think that Adam Eidinger is responsible for the most part. Stuff he does reminds me of Mason Tvert and his billboards.

    This week’s very well planned event is called Reschedule 4/20. That’s partially because it’s on 4/2. It is also because the event has an alternate name which is “De-schedule 4/20” I love it. It’s being held on Federal land because they wanted to include civil disobedience. It’s a lot harder to get arrested for cannabis where it’s legal you know. I wonder if authorities will treat us like they did my friend Joel in 1995.

    I halfway expect that we might actually get a decent turn out. I know that it has already given me a remarkable warm fuzzy by reminding me of the 1980 Smoke-In.

    If they actually do arrest people maybe I’ll be able to exorcise the frustration part of watching Joel chasing down two Capitol Hill police officers demanding that they arrest him while waving a burning joint at them. They weren’t having any part of it. I think not many people know just how frustrating it is to be ignored and invisible by both the powers that be and the citizenry when you’re any stripe of law reform advocate. Seriously, there’s a little bit of gratitude for Kevin Sabet and his crusade to promote an even worse failure of public policy while continuing to enrich and empower organized criminal syndicates. At least he knows that we exist. He’s also not very good at it.

  • Servetus

    David Talbot’s latest book on the Dulles brothers (The Devil’s Chessboard) reveals this bit of cold war drug trivia:

    The following year, he [Lee Harvey Oswald] was sent to Atsugi, a naval air base outside of Tokyo, which served as a takeoff point for the CIA’s top secret U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union. The Atsugi base was also one of the centers for the CIA’s LSD experimentation. A CIA memo titled “‘Truth Drugs’ in Interrogation” revealed the agency practice of dosing agents who were marked for dangerous overseas missions. An operative who had tripped on acid before, the memo noted, would be less likely to crack up if subjected to hallucinogenic treatments by his captors. Some chroniclers of Oswald’s life have suggested that he was one of the young marines on whom the CIA performed its acid tests. — David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard, p. 531.

    Few things outperform LSD when it comes to brain resistance to authoritarian BS (further research is needed).

    The ramifications are noteworthy:

    (1) By taking LSD and breaking the law, we can protect themselves from CIA acid interrogations, given the finite probability we might be mistaken as terrorists, abducted into some CIA black-site, interrogated, and brutally tortured until we tell our tormenters what they want to hear.

    (2) Rehab for experienced LSD trippers? Uh…forget it. Rehabbers need to listen to the trippers.

    (3) Good news for the DEA. If CIA field agents trip on LSD as part of their training, then it’s a payback opportunity for the time CIA agent Felix Rodriguez dangled DEA agent Enrique Camarena on a string before his executioners to avoid exposing the truth about Mexico’s drug-bandito economics. That’s right DEA, you can bust CIA agents for possession and/or use of LSD. Have fun.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    It’s only a matter of time now. Little Boy has been deployed and Fat Man is on the way. It is the end of the world as we know it. If the sycophants of prohibition were smart people they would be waving the proverbial white flag and asking for the terms of surrender. But since they’re idiots it’s going to take a few years before we can do the humane thing and pull the plug on the respirator. This one is from the “Read ’em and weep Mr. Prohibitionist, read ’em and weep” category:

    Whoopi Goldberg Launches Medical-Marijuana Products Targeted at Menstrual Cramps

    So let it be written. So let it be done.

  • PastorWithHigherPurpose

    “An Indiana pastor pleaded guilty to producing 100 tons of synthetic marijuana after using members of his congregation to run the massive $2.6 million drug ring.

    Robert Jaynes Jr. of Irvington Bible Baptist Church in Indianapolis also admitted to committing fraud through the mislabeling of the controlled substance, according to his plea agreement obtained by the Indianapolis Star.

    Kirk Parsons, the pastor’s brother-in-law and a church member, pleaded guilty to the same charges. Jaynes and Parsons were among 13 people from multiple states busted in the international drug ring.”

    http://tinyurl.com/praishimstonehim

    • Jean Valjean

      Not sure why you linked to that Pastor, but it’s an interesting article. Gives an insight into how U.S. prohibitionist propaganda gets echo-chambered in drug war client states like Kenya, and seems to be accepted without even the minimal skepticism shown in the US mainstream media.
      …….”The NACADA CEO has noted that the State of Colorado that legalised recreational use of marijuana in 2012, has seen a 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities, an increase in emergency-room visits and hospitalisations, as well as a greater cannabis usage by youth, aged 12 to 17 years.
      Okedi made the announcement during the ongoing 4th National Conference on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, during which stringent measures are set to be adopted to help NACADA fight the menace.”

      https://citizentv.co.ke/news/kenya-will-not-approve-recreational-use-of-marijuana-nacada-120493/

      • Jean Valjean

        The whole thing is directly caused by the war on drugs. None of this could happen without prohibition. Regulated sale of cannabis would eliminate the market for “spice,” along with the dangers to public health of a totally unregulated market in illicit drugs. The drug war breeds corruption throughout every level of society and does massive damage to both individuals and the wider public. It’s clearly evident that the price tag for prohibition is far greater than the dangers of the drugs themselves.

    • DdC

      There is no such thing as synthetic marijuana. Prohibitionists misnomering bath salts and other lab crap is no different than flat out spewing hobgoblins. Another attempt at stigmatizing Ganja and putting out dangers that don’t exist, outside of prohibition and greed.

  • DdC

    The Miscarriage of Justice Department
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/1074

    “The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, while a crusade is judged by how good it makes its crusaders feel.”
    — Thomas Sowell

  • Servetus

    It couldn’t have happened were Antonin Scalia still alive. The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck at the very core of forfeiture in drug cases in which a person’s assets are seized before their conviction, subsequently constraining a person financially so they can’t afford to hire a good lawyer:

    “The crucial point,” Justice Breyer wrote, “was that the right to counsel is a fundamental constitutional guarantee, while the government’s interest in recovering money is merely important. “Despite their importance, compared to the right to counsel of choice, these interests would seem to lie somewhat further from the heart of a fair, effective criminal justice system,[…]

    …relevant legal tradition offers virtually no significant support for the Government’s position. Rather, tradition argues to the contrary. Describing the 18th century English legal world (which recognized only a limited right to counsel), Blackstone wrote that “only” those “goods and chattels” that “a man has at the time of conviction shall be forfeited.” 4 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 388 (1765) (emphasis added); see 1 J. Chitty, Practical Treatise on the Criminal Law 737 (1816) (“[T]he party indicted may sell any of [his property]…to assist him in preparing for his defense on the trial”). Describing the common law as understood in 19th century America (which recognized a broader right to counsel), Justice Story wrote: “It is well known, that at the common law, in many cases of felonies, the party forfeited his goods and chattels to the crown. The forfeiture…was a part, or at least a consequence, of the judgment of conviction. It is plain from this statement, that no right to the goods and chattels of the felon could be acquired by the crown by the mere commission of the offense; but the right attached only by the conviction of the offender…In the contemplation of the common law, the offender’s right was not divested until the conviction.”

    Taking the profit out of drug enforcement is a key element to ending drug law despotism. Historians blame the practice of confiscating the assets of accused heretics and their families immediately upon an inquisitorial detention as the primary reason the inquisitions lasted for nearly seven centuries. Justice Breyer and the Court, by eliminating an intended means of depriving an alleged drug offender of effective legal counsel, have essentially killed forfeiture.

  • Oklahoma Sheriff Indicted for Extortion, Blames Civil Forfeiture Reformers http://tinyurl.com/zsjz9p8

    “But to be fair, it’s understandable that law enforcement officers may sometimes struggle to distinguish civil asset forfeiture from extortion and bribery. Many reform advocates suffer from the same problem.”

    “That is precisely why civil asset forfeiture should be abolished.”

  • Will

    .
    .
    I guess this was inevitable;

    Scientists Successfully Breed Kale with Cannabis

    http://tinyurl.com/gsjcrj4

  • DdC

    In 1970, Congress dropped psychedelics into the war on drugs. After a decade of Timothy Leary, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” and news reports of gruesome murders, the federal government declared that the drugs had no medical use — and high potential for abuse. The chairman of New Jersey’s Narcotic Drug Study Commission called LSD “the greatest threat facing the country today … more dangerous than the Vietnam War.”

    LSD could make you smarter, happier and healthier.
    Should we all try it?

    But over the past decade, some scientists have begun to challenge that conclusion. Far from being harmful, they found, hallucinogens can help sick people: They helped alcoholics drink less; terminal patients eased more gently into death. And it’s not just the infirm who are helped

    A new way to heal
    When it comes to psychedelics, an under-the-radar Santa Cruz nonprofit is opening people’s minds.

    Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
    http://www.maps.org/

    You’re invited to join the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the global psychedelic community for a benefit banquet and celebration on April 17, 2016, at the magnificent Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, California, celebrating three decades of advancements in psychedelic research and therapy.

    Tickets for the MAPS 30th Anniversary Banquet and Celebration on April 17 are limited and selling fast. Buy tickets now!

    From The Natural Mind by Dr. Andrew Weil
    Weil Says LSD Cured His Allergy
    The Harvard Psychedelic Club
    Dr. Andrew T. Weil ‘63-’64, Pioneer of Integrative Medicine

  • Jean Valjean

    Maia Szalavitz talks about her new book:
    “If Addiction is a Disease, Why is It Criminal? Maia Szalavitz Envisions a Compassionate Drug Policy”

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/30/if_addiction_is_a_disease_why

  • Servetus

    The saga of the sniffer dog in drug enforcement continues as the US police state tries desperately to preserve the dog as a basic tool of public repression.

    Phillip Smith has an excellent article at Alternet on the reactionary police resistance to retiring drug dogs from investigations after a decision by the Seventh Circuit.

    So far, the critical arguments have been about the rights of citizens to be free of arbitrary and often inaccurate drug searches involving dogs. But what about the dogs themselves? Don’t we owe doggies more than involving them in society’s human rights crimes?

    The worst elements of law enforcement are using humanity’s best friend to circumvent Fourth Amendment protections. It’s a public relations disaster for dogs, if not for the government. Such acts by government are an insult and a public disgrace to all dogs on this planet. And what about the health of the canines? Does sniffing marijuana lead to sniffing harder drugs like cocaine, and to cocaine detection addictions? More research is needed.

    For now, attempts to retire the sniffer dog will rely upon future technologies that replace or improve upon a dog’s chemical detection of minute quantities of material down to a molecular scale. Such technology should be ready for use about the same time drugs become legal. It’s a no win situation for prohibition in any case, so they need to forget it.

    Animal rights. It’s not just about humans anymore.

  • Jean Valjean

    Election ad:

    “In Pennsylvania, a senate candidate considers a more humane (and effective) response to a drug crisis.”

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/amazing-video-ad-candidate-who-tells-truth-about-drugs

  • Freeman

    The scourge of drugs and the harms of drug use are exaggerated to justify these measures.

    Every time.
    Case in point:

    When I try to convince people in the debate the Cannabis Use Disorder is a real and rising problem, I am frequently met with incredulity.

    That’s not to say that prosperous and well-educated folks don’t use cannabis; lots of them do. But very heavy use (daily or near-daily, sometimes for years on end) of cannabis has about the same demographic profile as tobacco smoking: it skews downscale. And that leads well-educated people to underestimate the risks that cannabis use poses to people less privileged than they are.

    “Cannabis Use Disorder” defined as “very heavy use” defined as “daily or near-daily, sometimes for years on end”. Exaggeration on top of exaggeration. Here’s a suggestion: Try convincing people that Caffeine Use Disorder is a real and rising problem using the same definition and see if your credulity factor is improved. Caffeine can be fatally toxic in moderately large doses (not so with cannabis), yet daily or near-daily use of caffeine is quite common in our society as is self-admission of dependence on its frequent use (both of which also apply to large numbers of minors under 21, who enjoy legally unrestricted access at any age), and yet our society doesn’t seem to be demanding endless cycles of elitist debate to figure out how to protect the “less privileged” from that. If you can’t articulate why daily or near-daily cannabis use indicates a “Disorder” on the mountainous scale of a “real and rising problem” while allowing that the same frequency of (and much more widespread) caffeine use (even among *gasp* children) is a molehill which can be safely ignored, then you’re going to naturally be met with incredulity when you try to make that point.

    The problem with elitists, and a big reason why they are so despised (and so richly deserve it), is their snooty attitude that “those who know what’s best for us must rise and save us from ourselves”. This “policy analyst” admits that the “people in the debate” are “prosperous and well-educated folks” (the orange band in the graph at the link) deciding policy for everyone else. Where is any evidence of inclusion of the voices of all the other users on the graph in this debate of his? And why assume “people less privileged” (the 85%) can’t accurately assess their own risk for themselves? After all, they’re the ones consuming so much cannabis so often, so they ought to know all about the negative consequences of such a “Disorder” first-hand, right?

    That’s not to say that no such disorder related to cannabis use exists; it ain’t for everyone and some people do have real problems with it, though in my experience those who do have relatively little trouble avoiding it, finding it easier to quit than caffeine or nicotine. But the assertion that daily use is “very heavy use” and describing that in and of itself as indicative of a “Use Disorder” is the deliberately misleading, intellectually dishonest stuff of propaganda. Leads me to ponder: Is it just irony that BOTEC was founded in 1984 (see: bottom of this page, under “About BOTEC Analysis”), or is it more than that? The clocks always seem to be striking 13 at the RBC.

    • DdC

      When I try to convince people
      there really is a Cannabis Use Disorder.

      I am frequently compared with
      Brown Spots on the Wall by Hu Flung Poo.

      They tried sticking this a while back
      I think it was Michele’s Last Burp before getting booted.

      They’re confused with (CEDS)
      and its not stoners suffering from it, its prohibitionists.

  • Jean Valjean

    Kleiman makes an “apology” to Bernie Sanders:

    http://www.samefacts.com/2016/04/elections/apologies-to-bernie-sanders/

    Call it “Reality Based,” “Third Way,” “Hillary Clinton,” it it all amounts to the same old drug war as usual folks, nothing to see here. Delay is the name of Kleiman’s game.

  • “Policies meant to prohibit or greatly suppress drugs present an apparent paradox.” -The Lancet Commission

    The current motivation to prohibit drugs is based on force not reason. Marijuana was not made illegal because it was dangerous. The powers that be were scared of the people that used it. How ironic that a drug that kills no one tops the list of dangerous drugs while alcohol is not, and legal.

    Until we can get some ACCEPTANCE from authorities on the fact that drug control regimes were established based on political motives not science (or facts), the charade of the drug wars will continue.

    They took the least dangerous drug and moved it to the top of the dangerous list out of political expediency, just because they could.

    Dr David Nutt at Lancet:
    http://tinyurl.com/jrnzxmg

    “To meaningfully evaluate illicit drug policies, then, indicators that measure so-called real-world outcomes of relevance to communities need to be prioritised.”

    “Fortunately, robust and detailed indicators have been developed to assess a range of impacts of drug policies on community health, safety, development, and human rights. UN Member States and other international stakeholders should therefore commit to the creation of an expert advisory group to conduct a formal revision of drug policy metrics as a key outcome of the 2016 UNGASS process”

    Corrupt and dishonest politics and politicians created this worldwide drug war. They are still there. We can change that. Lets not lose track of who the real villains are. 39% of the population still needs to hear the story.

    The other 61% of us should be sufficient right now to handle the rest of these lying crooks.

  • ACCEPTANCE is what you need if you don’t have a drug problem and are forced into treatment. That’s what’s needed here by the politicians that thought of this fine remedy.

    They need acceptance of the fact that the jig is up. Drug War. They don’t want it to stop. Tough.

    We figured it out, and now they need a taste of their own need for treatment:

    Acceptance. The buck stops here.

  • DdC

    Ganja good for treating Corks

    Mother of Cork Boy Receiving US Cannabis Treatment

    Was Nixon popping Dilantin,
    foretelling the future?

    “You know, it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob?”
    ~ Richard Nixon,
    to top aide H.R. Haldeman.

    Israeli Cannabis Expertise Attracts U.S. Firm
    Since 2014, U.S. firms have invested about $50 million in licensing Israeli medical marijuana patents, cannabis agro-tech startups and firms developing delivery devices such as inhalers, said Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN, a private cannabis research hub.

    “I expect it to grow to $100 million in the coming year,” Kaye said at iCAN’s CannaTech conference in Tel Aviv this month, one of the largest gatherings of medical marijuana experts.

    US firms going to “experts” in Israel
    who are really from the US? oy vey!

    Former Santa Cruz resident helps lead Israel’s
    state-run medical marijuana program

    They Shut Down the Nun’s!
    What, Sick and Dying patients too tough?

    Nuns Growing Cannabis have Online Shop
    Selling Medicinal Remedies Shut Down